# Extents (work in progress)

TODO: This is closely related to the idea of Torsors, and the difference between affine points being vectors.

• This is the idea of a bounded region
• It can be defined by its boundary, e.g. start and end points in 1D
• It is distinct from an interval in two ways:
• It is relative, e.g. more like a 1D vector
• It is signed, again more like a 1D vector
• Useful to distinguish position (e.g. on a number line) from difference-in-position
• Good precursr for vectors:
• In 1D, vectors are extents
• In higher-dimensions, vectors also have a direction (maybe relatable to projective points-at-infinity)
• Higher-dimensional extents include signed area, signed volume, etc.
• In the 1D case it gives an unambiguous notion of subtraction for positive spaces like Nat: the difference between two Nats is an extent, not a Nat
• This removes the difficulty of e.g. 1 - 2 = -2: the sign of the result tells us which direction to move, not ‘where we end up’
• We still get problems if we try asking which Nat is some extent away from another, e.g. taking the difference between 10 and 3 (-7) and asking what is an equivalent difference away from 2 (there is no -5 in Nat); yet this feels like a clearer case of ‘not making sense’

Numbers and geometry are foundational to mathematics, and how we explain and understand various phenomena. We can relate these concepts in two important, but distinct, ways: as positions or as extents.

## Position versus extent

Consider the useful picture of a number line:

``````┌──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬─⋯
0  1  2  3  4  5  6``````

This shows numbers as positions quite directly: the number four ‘is’ the position (or point) labelled `4`.

The extents in this picture are a bit more abstract: we can find them by ‘cutting’ the line at the relevant label; e.g. cutting at the label `4` gives the following:

``````┌──┬──┬──┬──┐
0  1  2  3  4``````

Whilst this is a perfectly good length, the idea of ‘extent’ that I’m after needs two more things…

## Extents are relative

We will consider the line to be our extent, not the points or labels. Hence all of the following are the same extent:

``````┌──┬──┬──┬──┐
0  1  2  3  4

┌──┬──┬──┬──┐
1  2  3  4  5

┌──┬──┬──┬──┐
32 33 34 35 36``````

Hence we can drop the labels, to get a line like `┌──┬──┬──┬──┐`